MEET STONE TRENDS
Date: March 2019
Client: Shouldice Designer Stone (SDS)
Business: Residential & Architectural stone veneer manufacturer
- Third annual edition of StoneTrends
- 12-page booklet/publication conceived, designed and produced by Errington Marketing
- High-quality, magazine-style publication to educate readers of current trends and highlight Shouldice Designer Stone products
- Distributed to builders, architects and designers (by mail)
The objective was to creatively and subtly present Shouldice Designer Stone as an authority concerning design trends in the residential and architectural stone veneer market. The tactic used was a magazine-style publication rather than a direct and obvious sales piece.
- Highlight specific Shouldice Designer Stone products, particularly those recently or about to be introduced.
- Targeted to client database of builders, architects, and designers as well as readers of Ontario Home Builder and Canadian Architect. StoneTrends appeared as an outsert in these publications.
- English & French languages represented separately.
The plan followed the outline of the previous two editions. The initial brainstorming stage focused on what the content should be. This determination was made, in part, by analyzing several relevant aspects of the SDS business:
- new products in development,
- new products/colours recently released,
- new imagery,
- requests from client,
- positives/negatives from previous StoneTrends editions.
Based on this input, the content began to take shape. Internal meetings narrowed the list to 14 possible topics (6 required). We worked with the client to reduce the list. The client felt we had more than 6 valuable ideas so 3 related topics were combined into one.
Once content was approved, the next step was to create a table of contents along with brief explanations and imagery references for each section. This was important on multiple levels:
- to ensure the client remained committed to the content selection
- to ensure we had appropriate imagery to best represent the content
- to request that imagery be shot as required – if not an option, we could make adjustments at this early stage of the project
Inspiration was drawn from previous editions of StoneTrends to ensure continuity as a high-end, trend-focused publication/magazine. Inspiration for layouts came from
- high-end architectural and fashion magazine publications,
- other design material SDS had been creating,
- current design trends outside stone manufacturing.
With inspiration in hand, it was time for the build out beginning with copywriting.
Copywriting began with a team brainstorm to establish the goal of each article. Next was to identify points of interest, facts and various ideas. These were reduced to a prioritized list of key points. Copywriting then began to provide structure to our thoughts. The objective was to produce copy that was brief and clear, yet interesting and enjoyable to read. A first draft was circulated, proofed and revised until we believed it achieved the goal. Once copy was approved, the design team took it from there.
The design team was eager to get going now that copy was complete. Since this was the third edition, basic structure was already determined. Proper preliminary development ensured the table of contents, most imagery, headlines and copy were already approved. The challenges were:
- to create interesting and engaging article layouts, differentiated from previous editions, using imagery and copy to convey our message,
- to not overdesign, but to enhance the message so, from start to finish, each article is valuable to the reader.
With inspiration from other high-end publications, layouts were created. We then printed digital proofs, received internal feedback, made revisions, and our first draft was complete. With internal approval in hand we requested client feedback. Given this was the third edition of StoneTrends, with expectations well understood, this stage was relatively brief. Minor changes were made to copy, imagery and some layouts.
Once the client approved the English version, it was time to move on to the French language version. The approved English version was sent for translation. With translated copy the design team needed to create a French version as close to the English version design as possible. This caused some challenges as:
- the French language can be more elaborate than English and require adjustment to properly accommodate the content,
- headlines still needed to be bold and effective,
- copy needed to flow seamlessly,
- copy needed to be legible.
The challenges were overcome, and the final French language version proved to have the same great presentation as its English partner.
Once the design team had gone through the same internal process as with the English version, proofs were sent to the client. They did their own French language review. Minor edits were made, and a French version was approved. With a happy client we were almost ready to go to print and get StoneTrends into the hands of the target audience.
Once the designs were approved, recipient databases were provided, quantities were finalized for print and mailings, i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Time to go to print.
(Offset printed – mail/magazine outsert distribution)
- Over 20,000 printed
- 12 pages 8.5″ x 8.5″ saddle stitched booklet
- Mailed to Shouldice database of architects, builders and designers
- Mailed to Shouldice Canadian + US sales reps for on the ground delivery
- Included as an outsert to Ontario Home Builder magazine: 9,000
- Included as an outsert to Canadian Architect magazine: 4,800
- Remainder sent to Shouldice Designer Stone for handouts and special requests
- Printed with an offset printing partner
Customers, distributors and sales reps have been universally complimentary and appreciative of previous editions of StoneTrends. That enthusiastic reception was not only repeated for this third edition, but dramatically expanded as the audience now included readers of Ontario Home Builder and Canadian Architect.
StoneTrends, directed to a large and highly targeted audience, with virtually no wasted reach, has been an unqualified success, with years of future potential.